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26 Sep, 2013 20:18

No ‘military measures’ in Syria draft resolution – Lavrov

A Syria resolution drafted by Russia and the US and submitted to the UN Security Council does not suggest immediate military action under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, Russia’s FM Lavrov said. A vote on the measure could take place Friday evening.

The Council has begun consultations on the draft and may vote on the resolution on Friday evening, as soon as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons makes its own decision on the submitted draft, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov might slightly extend his visit to New York to take part in the vote, and his counterparts from the Security Council member states are considering similar moves, Churkin added. 

The resolution which was submitted to the UN Security Council is fully in line with the Geneva framework on the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria, Sergey Lavrov told the press earlier on Thursday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly's 68th session. 

“There will be no enforcement in line with Chapter 7,” he emphasized.

The draft resolution backs the agreement reached in Geneva regarding Syria's commitment to place its chemical weapons stockpile under international control. If there is any violation by any party – as the resolution  also calls on the opposition to assist in the disarmament process – the Security Council will convene again and will be ready to take enforcement measures in line with Chapter 7, Lavrov said.

“We have finalized the draft which will be submitted at the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Hague any minute now," Lavrov said in a short statement on Thursday evening. "We have also agreed on a US-Russian draft resolution which will be submitted to the Security Council later tonight.”

The draft resolution emphasizes the need to rely on the professionalism of the OPCW experts and calls on the UN Secretary General to assist the experts in the implementation of the reached agreements. It further outlines the obligations the Syrian side should fulfill as a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the party who invited the international  personnel to take control of and ultimately  destroy the country's chemical weapons stockpiles, Lavrov said.

The UN Security Council is expected to hold a closed-door consultation on the Syria draft resolution on Thursday evening, representatives of the French UN mission told Reuters.

US envoy to the UN Samantha Power also confirmed an agreement with Russia has been reached, elaborating further that the draft resolution is “legally obligating Syria to give up chemical weapons they used on their people.”

Agreement reached w/Russia on UNSC Resolution legally obligating #Syria to give up CW they used on their people. Going to full UNSC tonight.

— Samantha Power (@AmbassadorPower) September 26, 2013

“The draft UNSC Resolution establishes that Syria's use of chemical weapons is threat to international peace and security and creates a new norm against the use of CW,” she wrote via Twitter.

Although all 15 members of the council will see and discuss the draft on Thursday evening, a vote on the measure is not expected immediately.

“We have a shared sense that in both the Security Council and the OPCW these drafts will be met positively, and we expect that the votes on these important decisions will take place in the nearest future, first in Hague and then in the Security Council,” Lavrov said.